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£360 million to boost British manufacturing and research

Christian Fernsby |
Ahead of the Spring Budget this week, the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a significant investment package in the UK’s life sciences and manufacturing sectors, as part of the government’s plan to grow the economy, boost health resilience and support jobs across the UK.

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The funding will go towards several companies and projects who are making cutting edge technology in sectors key to economic growth and part of wider government support to ensure the UK is the best place to start, grow and invest in manufacturing.

This includes £7.5 million to support two pharmaceutical companies who are investing a combined £84 million to expand their manufacturing plants in the UK.

Almac, a pharmaceutical company in Northern Ireland produces drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, heart disease and depression, while Ortho Clinical diagnostics in Pencoed, Wales, is expanding its facilities producing testing products used to identify a variety of diseases and conditions.

These new life sciences investments are the latest step in the government’s plan to grow our economy, encourage innovation and support levelling up with nearly 300 supported jobs across the UK.

The Chancellor is also confirming that companies will soon be able to apply for a share of the £520 million funding for life sciences manufacturing announced at Autumn Statement, with competitions for large scale investments opening for expressions of interest this summer and medium and smaller sized companies in the autumn.

The fund is designed to build resilience for future health emergencies such as influenza pandemics and capitalise on the UK’s world-leading research and development.

On top of this, the government has announced almost £73 million in combined government and industry investment for cutting-edge automotive R&D projects to support the development of electric vehicle technology, delivering highly skilled jobs and cementing the UK’s position as a global hub for EV manufacturing.

Supported by more than £36 million of government funding awarded through Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC) competitions, this includes four projects which are developing technologies for the next generation of battery electric vehicles, making them more efficient and competitive, led by companies including automotive manufacturers YASA and Empel Systems.

This funding is also supporting a project led by Integrals Power, developing and scaling up high-performance battery systems ahead of testing their mass-commercialisation, enhancing safety, power density, and cost-efficiency.

These projects build on the record of the government’s established automotive initiatives. The Autumn Statement provided future certainty, announcing over £2 billion across five years from 2025 to unlock investment in the manufacturing and development of zero emission vehicles, their batteries and supply chain.

The government will ensure a seamless transition to the new Auto2030 programme which will deliver support in future, and investors are still able to apply to the current schemes.

As part of the investments announced today, almost £200 million of joint government and industry funding is also going to aerospace R&D projects, supporting the development of energy efficient and zero-carbon aircraft technology and accelerating the transition to net zero aviation.

This includes £40 million which is going towards a project developing zero-carbon aircraft engine technology - led by Cambridge-based Marshall Group - and around £96 million is being invested in Airbus-led projects. Airbus, which manufactures almost all its aircraft wings in the UK bringing in jobs and investment to the UK economy – is developing more efficient wing designs and increasing carbon fibre production rates for wing components, reducing CO2 emissions and fuel burn.

Funding for these projects will be delivered through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme. It was also confirmed today that the £975 million in aerospace funding over five years from 2025, announced at Autumn Statement, will be allocated to the ATI programme.

The programme has facilitated over £3.6 billion of joint government and industry R&D investment to date - providing industry with continued confidence and security to invest in the UK for the long term - and includes R&D support for small businesses through the ATI SME competition.

The Chancellor is also announcing up to £120 million increase to the Green Industries Growth Accelerator (GIGA) to further support expansion of low carbon manufacturing supply chains across the UK, lowering costs and accelerating the transition.

The government is also confirming today that the total fund, which has now increased to almost £1.1 billion, will be split between the clean energy sectors, with around £390 million earmarked to expand UK-based supply chains for electricity networks and offshore wind sectors, and around £390 million for carbon capture, utilisation and storage and hydrogen sectors.

The remaining £300 million has been previously announced for UK production of the fuel required to power high-tech new nuclear reactors, known as HALEU.

The GIGA funding will enable the UK to seize growth opportunities through the transition to net zero, building on our world-leading decarbonisation track record and forms part of the government’s priority to grow the economy focusing on making the right long-term decisions for a brighter future by creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.

Alongside this, the Chancellor has today set out further details of the two-year £50 million apprenticeship growth sector pilot announced at Autumn Statement.

Following engagement with the sector, from April eligible apprenticeship providers of apprenticeship standards including pipe welder, nuclear technician and laboratory technician will now benefit from targeted payments worth £3k for every start of an apprentice.

It is intended the funding will be used to support providers in making capital investment that will unlock their ability to grow and deliver the standards in scope of the pilot, such as purchasing course specific equipment, tools, and machinery that will last beyond delivery of a single apprenticeship.

This will explore ways to stimulate training and break down barriers to high-quality training in advanced manufacturing and engineering, green industries, and life sciences apprenticeships. Further detail will be set out in upcoming guidance later this month. Today’s announcements follow £4.5 billion announced at Autumn Statement to increase investment in strategic manufacturing sectors auto, aero, life sciences and clean energy across the UK for five years from 2025.


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